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Letter "L" Glossary

lady chapel — Major chapels dedicated to the Virgin Mary, usually located in the west-east axis of a church at its east end behind the apse or hemicyle.

lancet — Slender windows with pointed lancet arches at the top, common in Gothic architecture.

lantern — Windowed superstructures crowning a dome, and serving to give light or air to the space below.

lapis lazuli — A costly semi-precious blue stone native to the Middle East pulverized for use in a rich blue pigment (ultramarine) used frequently for painting the robe of the Virgin Mary.

Latin cross — Church buildings whose plan is designed in the form of a cross with two short lateral arms (transept arms) and one long arm (nave).

lean-to roof — Pitched wooden roof with only one slope. In church architecture, a lean-to roof usually covers and protects the exterior surface of the nave aisle vault and leans on the exterior of the nave or choir wall.

lierne — Small subordinate ribs inserted between the main ribs of Gothic vaults.

limestone — General name for a type of sedimentary rock existing in many varieties, consisting primarily of calcite or dolomite. Used as a building material.

lintel — Horizontal structural elements that span an opening in a wall for door and window openings that carry the superimposed weight of the wall above the opening. The lintel may be decorated with decorative elements or narrative scenes sculpted in relief.

lunette — Crescent-shaped or semicircular space, either recessed or projecting, on a wall or vaulted ceiling, framed by an arch or vault and sometimes used as a setting for sculpture.

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